Our family this week watched the first of the six episodes of Ken Burn’s National Parks: America’s Best Idea. It’s a beautiful and moving history, tribute and call to the value and nature of the National Park System. I’m hungry for more and sure I’ll bring you deeper in as we go. The first disc (“The Scripture of Nature”) begins with this quote by John Muir:
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul.”
and ends with this stirring piece that you should spend some time chewing on:
The tendency nowadays to wander in wildernesses is delightful to see. Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life. Awakening from the stupefying effects of the vice of over-industry and the deadly apathy of luxury, they are trying as best they can to mix and enrich their own little ongoings with those of Nature, and to get rid of rust and disease. Briskly venturing and roaming, some are … jumping from rock to rock, feeling the life of them, learning the songs of them, panting in whole-souled exercise and rejoicing in deep, long-drawn breaths of pure wildness.
John Muir, Atlantic Monthly, 1898